Hi there. Have you been craving some Course Jester fluff? Do you even remember who the hell Course Jester is? Well, he's me, and I writes the Chuck and Sarah fluff. Here's hoping you have a sweet tooth right about now.
Huge thanks to my ever-dedicated friend and beta, Aardvark7734. Go read his stuff; you'll enjoy it.
This one-shot takes place after 204, Chuck vs. The Cougars. It's a continuation of the final scene in Sarah's hotel room, the one that ends with our favorite couple sharing a cheeseburger. At this point, Chuck thinks that Sarah's real name is Jenny Burton. She offers to answer one question about her past, but Chuck declines to ask, saying he doesn't need to know about her past...
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"Because as much as you don't think so, I know who you are. A girl I'd like to share a cheeseburger with."
She's surprised by his refusal. But she's also very pleased, amazed at his restraint, and they eat together comfortably, sharing the cheeseburger and conversation. But as their lunch disappears, a feeling of curiosity builds in Sarah. Her offer was a spur of the moment decision, and now she's puzzled as to why she'd ever offer the truth of herself to anyone, let alone her ever curious asset. And she can't believe that Chuck, who has spent the last year trying to learn anything he could about her, would pass up such a golden opportunity. Her curiosity eventually gets the better of her, and she needs to know why.
"So, Chuck. You're seriously not going to ask me anything? This is a one-time offer, you know."
Chuck sits his soda on the table and studies her for a long moment, long enough to make her fidget. Finally, he smiles.
"Okay, then. If you're sure..."
"I'm sure. I meant what I said. You earned it."
"Anything I want to know?"
She closes her eyes for a split second, takes a deep breath to calm her increasingly jittery nerves. She's freaking out a little, but she won't back down now. She looks back at Chuck and nods, and she thinks she sees sadness in his eyes for an instant, but then his trademark grin is back in place and he's excited again.
"Okay, Miss "Sarah Walker"...
He makes air quotes around her name, and now she's sure that she was right. He was thrilled to meet Jenny Burton, and he can't pass up the opportunity to learn more. And despite her fear, Sarah finds herself actually wanting to tell, especially since he doesn't really know what he thinks he knows and he deserves something true. She waits as he ponders his options, and she steels herself, prepares to come clean.
"What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?"
Sarah sits back in disbelief. The spell is rudely and irrevocably broken, like a needle popping a balloon. Of all the things he could have asked, he chose this?
"Really, Chuck? Ice cream?"
Chuck is indignant. "Hey! It's important!"
"How in the world is ice cream important? The same way that your momentous desert island sandwich question is important?"
Chuck dons an expression of mock offense and swipes her last bite of cheeseburger. He pops it in his mouth and chews deliberately, makes her wait. Just as he swallows he reaches for his soda, but Sarah's hand darts out to capture it, and she raises the straw to her lips and empties the cup in one long, retaliatory slurp. Chuck tries to look hurt, but the corners of his mouth curl upwards. Touche.
"Sarah, this is much more important than some silly sandwich debate. A person's favorite flavor of ice cream says a lot about them. It's critical information."
Sarah snorts in disbelief. "Really? Well, what if I told you that my favorite flavor was, I dunno, Scooby Snack Goblin Crunch or something?"
His laugh is sudden and explosive, and it doubles him over. Finally, he stops laughing enough to speak, ignoring the wounded look on Sarah's face. "It would tell me that you haven't seen a cartoon since you were, like, eight. And that would make me very sad, if it weren't for the fact that you would be lying epically."
"'Epically?' Hm, I don't think I've ever done anything epically before."
"Hah, right. Now I know you're lying, because everything about you is epic."
Chuck realizes what he said almost instantly. He looks away for a moment to gather himself, and when he looks back, Sarah offers a small smile as a thank you. When he speaks again, his voice is softer.
"Look, say you tell me that your favorite flavor is vanilla. Well, that could mean a lot of things. Maybe you're really just not an ice cream person, so vanilla is a generic choice. Maybe you're being practical, because vanilla goes with everything. Maybe you chose it because it's the one flavor of ice cream you can get pretty much anywhere you go, so you can always have your favorite. Or maybe you're a purist who believes in simplicity, who has no use for gimmicks like gummi bears or jimmies or butterscotch swirls."
He pauses for a moment, captures her eyes.
"Or maybe, Sarah Walker, it's because vanilla is safe and you know you like it, and you're scared to try new things and possibly be disappointed."
Sarah squirms at that last suggestion. Maybe this is a more penetrating question than she thought.
"But then again, maybe your favorite flavor is something decadent, like Dark Chocolate Swirl Double Fudge Explosion. Well, that would tell me that, despite your normally disciplined and thoroughly agent-y demeanor, you have a secret passion. A vice. You know you shouldn't, you're sure that indulging your weakness can only lead to pain and misery on the treadmill, but every now and then you just can't help it. So you indulge, and you enjoy the moment, letting it feed your soul but knowing full well that you have to swear it off again as soon as you finish."
Chuck falls silent. He holds her gaze, and she's frozen. For a person who was so willing to share her deepest, darkest secrets just a few short moments ago, Sarah now cannot think of a single thing to say. She can see Chuck starting to fidget, becoming more uncomfortable as the silence stretches, until he finally fills the void.
"Or maybe, you know, you just really like chocolate."
She still can't speak. Chuck looks a little scared now, unsure of what's he's done, and he reaches a hand towards hers tentatively. She's torn between moving her hand away and threading her fingers through his, and in the end she simply stays still as his hand covers hers. But he only gives her a reassuring little squeeze and pulls back, and she's once again grateful for his restraint. Still looking into his warm brown eyes, she finds that the urge to be honest with him is still there.
"Chuck, I...I like chocolate a lot."
Chuck is still for a moment, as if making sure of what he heard. Slowly, his grin widens, and Sarah knows that even though she's been truthful in the most indirect way possible, he's caught her meaning. He reaches across to squeeze her hand once more, then moves to clear away the remains of their lunch. But when he turns away and she's no longer captivated by the moment, she realizes that the connection they made was inadvertent; he'd meant the whole thing as a diversion. Her curiosity flares back to life, and she once again needs to know why he didn't ask something, well, more.
The table now clean, he sits back down. "Chuck?" She searches out his eyes again, commanding his attention. "Seriously, why this? I...I would have told you anything." She doesn't know if that's really true, but she thinks it might have been, and for her that's unprecedented.
Chuck sighs, and she knows that his decision wasn't an easy one, that some part of him mourns the lost opportunity. But his expression is resolute. "Sarah, if I ever again find out something real about you, I don't want it to be because you felt like you owed me, or because I tricked you or made you feel guilty. If you ever tell me the truth about yourself, I want it to be because you really wanted to. I'll wait for that."
She's stunned. She has never met anyone so unselfish. And suddenly Sarah knows that her favorite flavor is a triple dip Bartowski sundae, with lots and lots of whipped cream.
Oh, the whipped cream. Sinfully delicious.
She bites her lower lip and looks out the window, very relieved that she doesn't have a can of Redi-Whip handy but at the same time wishing like hell that she did.
x x x x x x x x x x
Before you ask, no, there isn't really a flavor of ice cream called Dark Chocolate Swirl Double Fudge Explosion . But damn, it sounds good, doesn't it?
I hope you enjoyed this. Shoot me a review and let me know how I did, mmmkay? And if you're so inclined, you could read my other stories. Hey, they're better than a sharp stick in your eye. ;)